Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Gospel According To Luke

If you hold to the concept that you can't believe a gospel because the author did not personally know Jesus while he was alive then don't read Luke. Luke never personally, physically met Jesus. They didn't have dinner together, Luke never heard Jesus preach, Luke didn't help distribute the bread and fish to the thousands. So obviously the Gospel of Luke cannot be trusted, right? 

The inaccurately titled blog The Church of Truth (which in reality is merely an atheist screed attacking something they can't possibly understand) goes to great and unsuccessful efforts to prove the falsehood that the bible can't be trusted and one of their great weapons is the completely inaccurate assessment that if the author of a Gospel didn't know Jesus while Jesus walked the earth, then that Gospel is not worth considering.

If you believe this assessment, then I urge you to consider doing the following: go to your nearest university, go into the research library, find the history section, and burn it to the ground. Statistically NONE of those books in there, other than autobiographies and memoirs, were written by someone who had "skin in the game", the vast majority of history books were are written long after the fact by researchers and historians who interviewed witnesses, acquaintances of witnesses, historical records and other history books.

Another complaint is that the Gospels were written many years after Jesus' death. Luke was written around 63 AD which makes it 30 years after the crucifixion, and atheists have a problem with that. However they have no problem with Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, which is only the preeminent historical tome on the life of Abraham Lincoln. It  was published 75 years after Lincoln's death and Sandburg never met Lincoln, never heard him speak, never interviewed him. In fact Lincoln died long before Sandburg was born, so by atheist reasoning this book should be completely discredited and ignored. Bill O'Reilly published Killing JFK 50 years after Kennedy's assassination, by atheist reasoning this too should be ignored along with The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire which was written 1500 years after the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Personally I don't play that game with history, and I am a history nut. (for Christmas I want a bumper sticker that says "Ask Me About Byzantium!") and I don't play that game with Theology either.  If there is something wrong, prove it - and "I don't like the name" is not proof.
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
 Here is how Luke opens his Gospel, he fully admits he is not an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry but he investigated it, spoke to eyewitnesses, and says plainly that he intends to correlate the data chronologically. He addresses his Gospel to Theophilus, and explains why he is writing it. This is unusual for a book in the Bible, but for a historical document written in the first century this is not unusual at all. Many, if not most, historical books of the period were actually addressed to a person, that was the accepted style of the time.

Theophilus is unknown, he could have been a Roman dignitary, possibly a member of Caesar's household. Theophilus was probably a pseudonym or a nickname, however it means "Lover of God" so in addressing his Gospel to the Lover of God, Luke could have been addressing it to all believers.

Luke is unique in the Bible, he a Greek and the only Gentile Christian writer in the New Testament. Luke is an educated man and we find out later (Colossians 4:14) that he is a doctor. His medical training is apparent in the gospel because he refers many times to sicknesses and diagnoses. His scientific and orderly approach, along with his great attention to detail prove his scientific background

Luke was a friend and assistant of Paul and wrote the Book of Acts as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Atheists discredit Luke because he was not an Apostle, but his position as assistant to Paul put him in contact with all the Apostles, many disciples, and numerous eyewitnesses, allowing him to fact-check testimonies along with historical documents that he had access to.

The gospel of Luke holds women in high esteem, especially for the era. From the opening Mary, Elizabeth and Anna are given prominence in the nativity account to the events of the resurrection where women are major characters. Luke always mentioned the central role of women in the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior. This is a point that atheists tend to ignore.

In the end there is no good evidence that anyone other than Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke. Why if the early Christians were attaching spurious Gospel titles to their Gospels, would they select Luke who was not an apostle instead of designating someone more prominent like Peter, Andrew or Phillip? This gives validity to Luke actually being the author and reflects the honesty of the primitive church. And this isn't just my opinion, this is the opinion of numerous scholars such as D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris.

Personally, I think the name of the authors of the Gospels to be meaningless, what matters is Jesus. What does it matter if it was Mark or Mario or Matilda who wrote the Gospel of Mark? Consider the science fiction book "The Running Man" - does it matter that it was not written by Richard Bachman? is it less of a book? In my opinion it is worse than meaningless to attack the content of the Gospels and claim that it's because you have issue of the title of the Gospel, or that 1st Century writing doesn't meet up with your 21st Century standards. To me it means you have an agenda you don't have the courage to articulate.

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